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GOP Abandons Resolution to Strip Rangel’s Gavel

House Republicans said on Wednesday that they will not introduce a resolution calling for Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) to resign as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee after receiving sufficient confirmation that he had in fact stepped down from the post.

Michael Steel, a spokesman for Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), said Republicans wanted assurances that the New York Democrat had in fact given up the gavel because both Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rangel referred to his status as a “temporary” resignation in their letters to the House Parliamentarian.

“You are either the chairman or you are not,” Steel said.

Earlier Wednesday, Republican Conference Secretary John Carter (Texas) sought to clarify the confusion through a series of parliamentary inquiries on the House floor. Carter has introduced three resolutions to strip Rangel of his gavel, the latest of which came after the ethics committee admonished the New York Democrat for taking part in Caribbean trips funded by corporate interests.

“Under this morning’s procedure is Mr. Rangel, the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means?” Carter asked.

Rep. John Salazar (D-Colo.), who was serving as Speaker Pro Tem at the time, confirmed Rangel had in fact resigned the position. Carter then asked if Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) would replace Rangel as chairman.

Salazar responded that Stark would serve as acting chairman until Democrats settle on a formal replacement.

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